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Like Raindrops on Roses, Herndon Stages a Favorite

Merril Roth, a student at The Madeira School, reviews Herndon High School's "The Sound of Music."

In another context, hills being "alive" would be disturbing, if not downright creepy. But in Herndon High School's presentation of "The Sound of Music," the stage was alive with the sounds of a cheerful production and its powerful message.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony-winning musical is based on the true account of the Von Trapp family. "The Sound of Music" tells the story of Maria (Kate Merryman), a musically inclined novice sent beyond the walls of the convent by the Mother Abbess (Evi Dobbs) to explore what life has to offer before taking her final vows. The charismatic Maria falls in love with the Von Trapp children she is sent to look after and, eventually, with their seemingly harsh military father. In the background lies the conflict between Nationalist and Nazi Austria.

The show featured several strong ensembles, including the nuns of Nonberg Abbey and the Von Trapp children. The cast had great chemistry, clearly defining their relationships to each other without relying on the audience's general familiarity with such a well-known show.

Merryman's portrayal of Maria was filled with emotion and conviction. She mastered the nuances of her character's transformation and journey of self-discovery while delivering strong vocals and captivating the audience with her stage presence.
The stern Capt. Von Trapp (Rob Fowler) eventually revealed his softer side as his enchantment with the new governess helped him to overcome his grief over the loss of his first wife.

The budding young love between Liesl Von Trapp (Kat Miller-Cvilikas) and Rolf (Trevor Morgan) was portrayed beautifully in "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," a well-choreographed number that made full use of the stage and showcased the two actors' vocal talents. Their relationship came full circle when Liesl and Rolf share one last moment as he hesitates to turn the Von Trapps over to Nazi authorities.

The opening of Act II with the song "The Lonely Goatherd" showcased three dancers, Callie Harman, Lauren Hickman and Erika Rodakowski, as marionettes. Harman's movements were especially puppet-like, and the trio contributed to the second act's vibrant and energetic beginning.

Although some technical difficulties with microphones detracted from the performance at times, the creative approach to sound effects showed great effort, especially through the use of flashing lights and sirens while the family evaded the Nazis.

The difficulty of performing such a famous show as "The Sound of Music" did not hinder the Herndon cast. The effective acting and equally delightful singing combined to create an impressive production.

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 18, 2008; 11:42 AM ET
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